Kids' bikes and gear
- By London Cycling Campaign on at 7:11pm 18 September 2011
- Posted in: Advice, Family and school cycling
- Tagged with: 7, f
At some point your child will be ready for their own bike – usually from 4 years upwards. This might be a tricycle, a bicycle with stabilizers or a bicycle without. Many parents now opt for first bikes that have no pedals (like the PUKY or a wooden one), but simply allow the child to scoot along learning the technique of balance. It is then easier for the child to progress to a bike with pedals but without stabilisers.
First bikes with pedals will usually have 12 inch wheels and are suitable for 3 to 5 year olds, but a larger child of this age may benefit from 14” wheels.
Getting the right size is essential – a bike shouldn’t be thought of as something that your child can grow into. A bike that is too big will be hard for them to control and they may not be able to dismount safely.
Similarly, it’s important to replace the bike once the child has grown out of it, as riding a cramped bike can be very uncomfortable and cause knee pain.
The child should be able to stand astride the bike with both feet on the ground and be able to touch the ground with the toes of one foot when sitting on the seat. As with any bike, you should make sure it’s in good working order and fitted with reflectors.
If you choose to buy a helmet for your child, it’s important to make sure they understand that helmets do not make them invulnerable, do not prevent collisions and are only designed to withstand low speed impacts.
Your child is likely to grow out of the helmet, so make sure it fits well every time the child uses it. Only buy a helmet if it carries a CE mark and a recognised safety standard such as BS EN 1078, ANSI Z90-4, or SNELL AS 2063.
If you choose to use a helmet for your child, please ensure it is fitted correctly.
When the child is learning to ride, it’s a good idea to get them to wear long sleeves and trousers to protect them while they learn to balance and gain confidence. Make sure they are warmly dressed in winter (especially if they are not riding themselves) and protected against the sun in summer.
It’s not as easy to ride in flip flops so comfortable shoes help too. It’s also sensible to encourage them to wear bright colours and ideally high visibility clothing such as reflective vests and armbands.